Impression: Hunterian Art Gallery
Hunterian Art Gallery
Number: 184
Date: 1879
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 137 x 201 mm
Signed: butterfly at lower left
Inscribed: no
Set/Publication: Printseller's Association, 1879.
No. of States: 4
Known impressions: 49
Catalogues: K.181; M.178; W.147
Impressions taken from this plate  (49)


The etching was stamped by The Printsellers' Association, and published by Thomas M. McLean (b. ca 1832), in London in January 1879. The stamp is not prominent. There are impressions of the first (Graphic with a link to impression #K1810102), third (Graphic with a link to impression #K1810202) and fourth states (Graphic with a link to impression #K1810302, Graphic with a link to impression #K1810303) bearing the stamp.
The Art Journal reported:
'MR WHISTLER, whatever may be thought and said of his paintings, is a good etcher; his indifference to subject is not evident in that branch of the art. Some of his bits produced by the needle will rank high among examples of the class. We have before us three specimens, published by Mr McLean; they are views of the Thames about Mortlake, and have evidently been done in the boat in which he was sitting to take them. They supply, however, proofs of his heedlessness, for, as he has not taken the trouble to reverse the sketches, the several objects depicted are all on the wrong side of the river. Such eccentricities are to be deplored, the more especially as they seem and we do not doubt, are deliberate. It is to be hoped that Mr Whistler, as he grows older, will become wiser, and learn that genius is not necessarily shown by affectation.' 6

6: Art Journal, 1879, p. 99.

There is some confusion about which firm published what in 1879. The Athenaeum announced on 14 June 1879:
MESSRS COLNAGHI & CO have sent us three etched views on the Thames by Mr Whistler, being 'Putney Bridge', 'Battersea Bridge', and 'View near Fulham'. The first, although but a very slight and telling sketch, is marked by the delicate and brilliant feeling of the artist for the elements of his subject, the varying solidities of the bridge and its reflections on the water. The second contains more matter, and shows a balance of parts and tones, as in the group of house on the right and the neighbouring foliage, with the shimmering lights on the water. The third shows barges, their sails hanging on the sprit, lying amid boats and close to the shore, with a range of houses and many trees behind. The water is luminous in all these stretches, peculiarly so in the second; the dark reflection in the third give a more striking force to the effect. These are works which must vary prodigiously in quality according to the state of the plate. 7

7: The Athenaeum, 14 June 1879, p. 769 (our italics mark the relevant passage).

It seems likely that the The Athenaeum had muddled the titles: the first one was probably Little Putney Bridge [186]; 'Battersea Bridge', Fulham [181], and 'View near Fulham', Hurlingham.


Hurlingham was not much known, although certainly it was represented in several print dealer's exhibitions, and at the exhibition organised by the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1900, to which Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916) lent his impression (Graphic with a link to impression #K1810302). 8 Impressions were for sale in exhibitions by H. Wunderlich & Co. in New York in 1898 and 1903, and by Obach & Co. in London in 1903. Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) bought an impression from the 1898 show (Graphic with a link to impression #K1810204). 9

After Whistler's death it was shown in the Memorial Exhibitions, including the Grolier Club in New York in 1904, and at the Copley Society show in Boston in the same year. H.R.H. the Princess Victoria lent an impression of Hurlingham to the Whistler Memorial Exhibition in London in 1905. 10 Probably she had been among visitors to Hurlingham to see polo played there.

8: Chicago 1900 (cat. no. 128).

9: New York 1898 (cat. no. 126). See REFERENCES: EXHIBITIONS.

10: New York 1904a (cat. no. 148); Boston 1904 (cat. no. 113); London Mem. 1905 (cat. no. 147).


Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919) bought a fourth state from H. Wunderlich & Co. on 7 September 1889 - it was among the first purchases for what was to become one of the finest collections of Whistler's work (Graphic with a link to impression #K1810203). In 1898 Freer bought another impression from the collection of Francis Seymour Haden, Sr (1818-1910) through Wunderlich & Co. (Graphic with a link to impression #K1810204). In 1905, he acquired a first state: it had originally come from the collection of the late Joshua Hutchinson Hutchinson (ca 1829 - d.1891), and was bought at auction in 1892 by Thomas Robert Way (1861-1913) for £2.5.0 11 ; Way then sold it to Freer in 1905 (Graphic with a link to impression #K1810102).

11: Sotheby's, 3 March 1892 (lot 231).

In 1897 another impression was bought at auction for £3.0.0. by the London print dealer Robert Dunthorne (b. ca 1851). 12

12: Christie's, 13-4 July 1897 (lot 293).

An impression was acquired by the Royal Collection; it was probably the one exhibited in the Whistler Memorial Exhibition of 1905, and sold soon after through Agnew's. It was acquired by Sir John Ilott, who began collecting prints in the 1920s, advised by Harold Wright of Colnaghi's. He gave over 700 works to the Museum of New Zealand (Te Papa Tongerewa) from 1952 (including Hurlingham). 13

13: William McAloon, Art at Te Papa, Te Papa Press, Wellington, 2009, p. 54.

Other early collectors in Europe included James Guthrie Orchar (1825-1888) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1810z02); James Smith (1831-1923) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1810309); Jules Gerbeau (d. 1906) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1820z06) and James A. McCallum (1862-1948) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1810304); and in America, Samuel Putnam Avery (1822-1904) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1810210); Howard Mansfield (1849-1938) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1810z15); Charles Deering (1852-1927) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1810202) and Bryan Lathrop (1844-1916) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1810302), both of whose prints went to the Art Institute of Chicago; Harry Brisbane Dick (1855-1916) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1810308); George Read Nutter (1863-1937) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1810205); J.L Claghorn (d. 1882) (Graphic with a link to impression #K1810323); and William P. Chapman, Jr (Graphic with a link to impression #K1810209).